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Boston 23, Us 13, U.s. 7, New York 7, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 7, Dzhokhar 5, United States 4, Fbi 4, America 4, Chechnya 4, Manhattan 4, Subaru 3, Miranda 3, Moscow 3, Afghanistan 3, Chuck Grassley 3, Tamerlan 3, Angie 3, Dzhokah Tsarnaev 2, Unitedhealthcare 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    April 22, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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the one surviving suspect in the boston marathon bombing, dzhokah tsarnaev, has begun communicating with police for the first time since his dramatic capture on friday evening. the 19-year-old suspect is awake and being interrogated. reportedly writing down answers due to a bullet wound to his throat. one that may have been the result of a suicide attempt made during tsarnaev's standoff with the police. it's possible that the fbi may bring official charges against him this afternoon. for investigators, the top priority is determining weather dzhokhar and his brother, tamerlan had accomplices. on thursday night the suspects hijacked an suv and according to t"the new york times," told its owner they planned to go on to new york city. >> we have reason to believe based upon the evidence that was found at the scene, the explosions, the explosive ordinance that was unexploded
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and the firepower that they had, that they were going to attack other individuals. >> as the investigation continues, more clues are revealed relating to the psychology of the suspects. but so far, any conclusions are few and far between. one day after the bombing, as boston mourned the dead and wounded, dzhokah tsarnaev went to parties, attended classes at his college, amherst and worked out. >> i said yeah it's a tragedy that it's happening right now, it's a sad thing. >> some suggested that dzhokah tsarnaev's brother, tamerlan was the mastermind of the plot and heavily influenced dzhokhar into participating. >> the brother was a follower. he read the magazines on how to create bombs, disrupt the general public and things like that and he brainwashed his younger brother into, from there. what happened on marathon day. you know, that's so unfortunate. >> it is a theory that's supported by the brothers' uncle
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who asserted that tamerlan had quote used his younger brother. he went on to say that he had stopped speaking to tamerlan in 2009 because of his religious radicalization. >> i was shocked when i heard his words, his phrases, when he started talking all, i mean every other word -- he starts sticking in, words of god, it wasn't devotion, it was something -- as it's called being radicalized. not understanding even what he's talking. >> the "boston globe" reports that in january, tamerlan interrupted a speaker at a cambridge mosque who made a connection between the prophet mohammed and martin luther king jr. the congregation disagreed with tamerlan and he was quote, shouted out of the mosque. speculation continues about why these two young men may have conspired to kill en masse, as the country marks a week since the deadly bombing. in medford, massachusetts, the funeral for 29-year-old victim, krystle campbell began just over
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an hour ago and at 2:50 p.m., president obama will join the city of boston in a moment of silence, mayor menino will observe the time from boston common. joining me washington bureau chief of the the "huffington post," graham, and the grio editor, joy reid and the deputy director of the "national journal." >> and pete, there's a lot of information that's come out over course of the weekend. we know that the fbi is interrogating dzhokhar tsarnaev. what are they hoping to get from him at this point? >> interrogating may be a bit of a grand word here, because it's certainly not the kind of interrogation they had planned, where they speak to someone. it's being conducted with notes and nods and because he can't speak, he's on a ventilator. so it's a very slow process. but during this period, their government is limited in terms of what they can ask him. because they're doing this public safety exception to the
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miranda rule. they've not advised him of his rights. so they can only ask about potential threats to public safety. were there other conspirators, other bombs out there, any reason to believe that public safety is in any way jeopardized. >> pete, one of the persons cited in terms of this idea that there may have been more violent plans on order at the hands of the brothers is this person who was hijacked by the brothers on thursday night. and the driver of a mercedes suv. we know that he's been cooperating with police. is there anything else that we know about his involvement in all of this? >> yeah, the business about new york is very iffy, frankly. i've emailed briefly with this person. he claims that he escaped with they stopped at a gasoline station. but he's also told the police that he was told by these two men, that they were the marathon bombers. but that they were not going to kill him because he was not an american. what he told the police was, that he thought they were
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speaking arabic. that's probably not the case, they were probably speaking russian or some dialect. and he thought he heard the word "manhattan." but he wasn't sure about it. you know, people i've talked to today say they don't quite know what to make of that. you know, i guess you have to ask yourself, do mont people say when they're going to new york, i'm going to manhattan. or do they say, i'm going to new york. so that's very difficult to tell if that's indeed where they were going. they clearly wanted to get away. but whether they had any destination in mind or not, i think they have no idea and that's one of the questions they'll ultimately get around to asking the surviving suspect. >> the manhattan piece would seem to be sort of a critical part of denying him his miranda rights, right? the idea is there's some sort of public threat that may be out there. if the threat, potential bomb plan was located in new york city, that would seem to at least justify as the administration would call it, the public safety exemption. >> well i don't think they need
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to justify the public safety exception right now. the court rulings are fairly clear on this. it started, the public safety exception was born in a relatively simple case of someone who robbed a store. a question about whether or not they left a gun in there or not. so they wanted to ask the person where the gun was, it's been extended to terrorism cases. but it's logical that you would want to ask a threat to public safety, regardless of whether they stated manhattan or anywhere else. the mere fact that they had already carried out a bombing. that they had additional explosives when the police were chasing them thursday night, i think gives ample reason that the justice department would argue if it ever gets to court that they had a legitimate reason for invoking the public safety exception. >> pete i know you're a busy man. before you go, senator lindsay graham was citing an fbi source, saying that tamerlan's name was misspelled when he initially got on the plane to russia a year or two ago and therefore got sort of lost in the system. we were asked by the russians to
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monitor him and effectively vet him as a potential terror suspect and one of the reasons he may not have been vetted as thoroughly as he would have been is because of a misspelling of his name. do you have anything on that? >> i think that conflates possibly two issues. one is that they were not really asked to monitor hill. the russians said here's this guy, we think he may have become radicalized. the bureau says that they looked at his communications, looked at everything they could under the limited legal authority they have in these circumstances and ultimately interview him and members of his family and said to the russians, we don't find anything here. can you give us something more to go on? and they say the russians never responded. that's 2011. then he takes the trip to russia in 2012. it was initially claimed that he went on an alias, perhaps there was a misspelling of his name. in any event there's a record of his travel to russia. it shows up in his immigration documents that he went to russia in january and came back in july. so the system did record his
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trip. >> nbc news pete williams, as this develops, i'm sure we'll be coming back to you for more, thanks for joining us today. also joining the panel now is bbc world news america africaor, katty kay. one of the first investigation questions we're seeing, perhaps not surprisingly because we live and work in a particularly heated partisan times is whether or not there were failures in terms of the fbi gathering intelligence, given the fact that this guy was kind of already on the radar and flagged by the russian government. >> we saw this after 9/11 and we're going to see it again. what did they know, what should they have known before he went to russia and after he came back. quiet has to be asked and it will be asked and eventually it will be answered. you also have the investigation itself. they have to still lock down this case against this young man. he's presumed innocent in this country. and you have to be careful even using the, the imminent threat
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exemption here. any evidence they get from him without the miranda could be thrown out in court and could undermine the case. >> i want to talk more in greater detail miranda rights and the constitutional implications of this case. but before we get to that, there's been a lot of information revealed about character, if you will. what could have happened to these two young men to cause them to act, to potentially cause them to act in this way. they are suspects. we don't know that they actually committed the crime. but given who they are and their background. joy, i'll just call to everyone's attention the twitter feed that dzhokhar tsarnaev had. a twitter feed, a window into their soul. the tweets are fairly remarkable in so far as they're not at all what you would expect from someone who is potentially becoming radicalized. on april 16th, this is after the bombing, he tweets, i'm a stress-free kind of guy. the day of the bombing, he tweets, ain't no love in the
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heart of the city. stay safe, people. november 4th, he talks about a kitten that he's adopted. what did you think when you saw those. >> when i first saw them, i thought it must be a fake account. because the things are so mundane. they seem to be the mundane tweets that any 19-year-old kid would do. i mean he seemed to be listening to the same kind of music, most kids his age listen to. tweeting lyrics from eminem or from whatever jay-z, which is pretty much any teenager, anywhere in the country would be doing. that probably is the most frightening about this. these kinds of cases you want the person to be some sort of monster you could easily pick out in the crowd. not an ordinary-seeming kid. he had been in the states since he was eight years old and was very much like a typical american teenager, if you go by those tweets. the other way to look at it, which is also frightening, is that it's really frightening and chilling that someone would be
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in such a mundane frame of mind after such a horrific thing that they participated in allegedly. >> kerry, there's been talk about whether or not his older brother exerted undue influence, the term brainwash has been thrown about. in terms of our collective indictment of these two young men, how much is that mitigated by the notion that he may have somehow been innocent in it so far as his older brother was quote-unquote the mastermind? does it matter at all? >> i don't know whether it matters legally. whether it changes the actual case against him or whether it changes the outcome of any case against him. i suspect it will be raised. i have a 19-year-old sond and i can tell you it's hard to get into their minds. because what they say publicly and what they might say on twitter and social media, is not necessarily a reflection of what they're thinking actually inside. and the other thing i would say about them is they're incredibly impressionable. there's a reason we send 19-year-old boys off to war. because they will follow and i
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think that, it does seem to me plausible that he was living here in the united states. he didn't have his mother and his father here, he was living here with his 26-year-old brother, who was kind of in loco parentis and may have had this extraordinary influence on him. when you put together what his friends have said and the friends we have spoken to have said about dzhokhar. he did seem to be friendly, easy-going likable kid. the questions are myriad, right? it doesn't add up with what he did. what he put on his twitter feed didn't add up with what he did. somehow he's being influenced. he's an adult. he takes responsibility for what he did. he stood in the crowd, he put the back pack down, he took lives. and that will be the case in which he's tried. he will be tried as an adult. >> you have already heard people like dianne feinstein and chuck schumer calling for capital punishment here, ryan, so in terms of a nation in some way being more forgiving because of the strength potentially of his older brother in hatching this plan -- it wouldn't seem, that wouldn't seem to be in the
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cards. >> right, i mean and plus, your centrist democrats are always going to be the first out of the gate calling for the death penalty. they're the ones that don't want to look like they're being soft on terror here. but you know, i think what this, what this goes to is that it makes it much more difficult for law enforcement and for politicians to paint this as black and white. we like to see things in terms of good and evil. evil-doers, out doing evil. and certainly the act itself is an act of evil. it's horrible what happened. but then you put that next to the description of dzhokhar by his friends and the one that emerges from his twitter feet. when you hear the president say we're confronting the face of evil and you hear his friends say, he's the nicest guy ever. he arrived, he would pick you up. >> and adopted kittens. twitter photos of kittens. that doesn't excuse anything, in terms of complicating the picture here. >> it does lend credibility to the idea that his older brother was the one that might have influenced this.
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it's the perfect age, what, 26 and 19, for the 19-year-old to look up to the 26-year-old. and i think it's revealing, too, that he kind sounds like he drove over his brother. >> yes, well, in the escape. >> i'd like to see, if that's true, it would be interesting to see if they charge him with that. you know -- >> involuntary manslaughter. >> that would be one of the myriad charges. >> when you speak to people that know about radicalization, that it can happen very, very fast and that this is an age at which it happens. somewhere between 18 and your mid 20s. actually they think 26 is pretty old. that that's quite, usually it happens a little bit earlier in your early 20s that the radicalization process happens but it can happen within the space of a few months, certainly and that ties in with where he was during that six-month period and the stories you hear about some kind of change taking place in the older brother. >> i'll say in addition to the tweets about nutella and kittens and being a stress-free kind of
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guy. there's the tweet on march 14th of this year, or last year where he said a decade in america, already? i want out so certainly there's some sense of despair at his situation and as you said, not having your parents at home. inside the mind of someone is almost, it is an impossible place to go. certainly everybody will be maging their armchair psychological evaluations in the coming days. coming up, the u.s. government has not yet red dzhokhar tsarnaev his miranda rights. we'll discuss when the aclu's mike german joins us just ahead.
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when ruslan tsarni held court with the media on friday, he tried to give a snapshot of his nephews' lives, he also defended his heritage, as well as his newfound homeland. >> i respect this country, i love this country. this country, which gives chance to everybody else, to be treated as a human being. and to just to be a human being. to feel yourself human being. that's whey feel about this country. >> we'll look at the old world versus the new world and culture clashes in the war on terror, just ahead. [ female announcer ] the only patch for the treatment
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now that the manhunt in boston is over and dzhokhar
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tsarnaev is in custody, attention has shifted to the legal path forward, reigniting the debate over how to prosecute terrorism cases on the u.s. soil and how to handle suspect who is are american citizens. after his capture on friday, the obama administration announced its decision not to read the suspect his mir anda rights immediately upon arrest. the justice department invoked what is known as the public safety exception, one that enables them to get information relating to a possible imminent attack. immediately after tsarnaev was apprehended, the u.s. attorney in boston, carmen ortiz explained the choice not to read tsarnaev his miranda rights. >> there is a public safety exemption in cases of national security and potential charges involving acts of terrorism. so the government has the opportunity right now. >> the decision was not welcomed by everyone. in a statement the aclu called the move unamerican. explaining every criminal defendant has a right to be brought before a judge and to have access to counsel. we mustwaiveer from our
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tried and true. urging the administration to go further and declare the suspect an enemy combatant. a move that would strip tsarnaev of his constitutional rights. on fox news sunday, congressman peter king explained the situation. >> i believe he should be treated as an enemy combatant for purposes of interrogation, the reason is there are so many questions unanswered, so many potential links to terrorism here. this is a unique opportunity to go into a treasure trove of intelligence. >> since dzhokhar tsarnaev is an american citizen has know known ties to foreign terrorist groups, the legal argument denying him his constitutional rights remains hazy at best and the obama administration has previously taken the position that u.s. suspects captured on u.s. soil should be -- >> senior policy counsel for the aclu and a former agent for the fbi. mike, thanks for joining us. this argument is actually coming
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at an incredibly rich time as we talk about civil liberties and the global war on terror and what national security means in light of civil liberties. is it the acla's position that dzhokhar tsarnaev should have had his miranda rights read to him. how confident are you that they will not invoke the enemy combatant rule in terms of denying him his constitutional rights. >> to be clear, the aclu is against having him declared an enemy combatant. but the miranda rule does allow a public safety exception and that is a very limited exception. it allows the police, law enforcement to ask about current and ongoing threats. it's limited both in what they can ask and in the amount of time. so that exception exists and you know, what we're making, what want to make sure is that the criminal justice system, which is both better at protecting his
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rights and better at actually convicting and coming to a, a fair conclusion to row resolve this issue is the best way to go about this. it's simply not appropriate or constitutional to treat american citizen as an enemy combatant. >> ron. >> captured in the u.s. >> indeed, we've been you know, we just had stand with rand, talking about drones and drone strikes killing american citizens, treatment of enemy combatants on foreign soil. and here in the united states. the question of civil liberties. is this -- in the case of dzhokhar tsarnaev, is it a good thing that that conversation/argument is proc d preceding this case? how much do you think the fact that there's been questioning of extent of executive power and the ability of government to limit constitutional rights -- how much does that assist dzhokhar in terms of the preservation of his constitutional rights? >> i don't know about him
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specifically. but i think it's generally healthy whenever we're talking about these things, whenever we stop talking about them, we have a problem. i'll make two points. one, think it's kind of ironic that the same party for most part that saw any gun regulation on second amendment rights is ready to start chipping away at the rest of the amendments but the dust is settled. and law enforcement officials need to be careful. it's totally legal and proper in case of an imminent threat to waive the miranda rights but they've got to prove, if we want this guy, if he's guilty of going away for a long time or subject to the death penalty. they have to prove not that he placed the backpack on the parade route or the finish line, but he knew what was in it and he knew what was going to happen. that won't be an easy case to prosecute. unless they do everything right and they don't want to find out something before he is been given the miranda right that they cannot then use in trial. >> mike, the aclu has been i think tough and fair-minded
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about the administration's use of, the aclu's issues with the obama administration and their sort of tactics in the great war on terror. how much do you think that the white house has sort of come around on some of these issues? i mean there's a lot of talk about the expansion of privileges, a continuation of the bush administration tactics. here's a case where they seem to try to be taking a middle ground. which is waive the miranda rights for a period of time, but there's a sense that they ultimately will read him his miranda rights. >> well, you know, certainly there are a host of issues that we disagree with the administration on. but i think in this case, where you know, you do have an american citizen and you know, this is, is a way, an opportunity for us to show the power of our criminal justice system. and, and you know, do, proceed fairly and get to the truth of the matter and get all the
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information that is needed for the prosecution in a way that preserves it as evidence. >> mike, katty kay here, i wonder if you thought this was a case that was justified in having the public safety exception and delaying the reading of the miranda rights. because if there is one, this would seem to be it. the fact that they carried on throwing explosives out of the car they were being chased in. the possibility that they were mounting another attack. i mean does it seem to you legitimate that the publt safety exception should be used in this particular incidence? >> sure, there is a public safety exception and it is legitimate for the government to use that. we just want to caution that it is limited. it's limited both in what they can ask, in other words that they're asking about current and ongoing threats, immediate threats. and limited in time. >> ryan, we talk about sort of what has worked in the war on terror. and we, we're looking at gitmo and what is happening there. the hunger strike.
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how in some ways there's a high risk, there's a recidivism rate, i don't know what the statistics are, folks who are released in some cases, have become radicalized and gone back and perpetrated acts of terror. it would seem like the prudent course of action would be to try the suspect in federal, civil court. because if you look at the record, richard reed, the shoe bomber was charged in federal court in boston two days after he was arrested. the 12th, 9/11 hijacker, zacharias moussaoui was charged. tried in federal criminal court. >> you're exactly right. and to me you know, the courage and patriotism doesn't do cocomm standing up for american values when it's easy. it comes from doing it when it's tough. these are the rights that, that we're out there defending. there is is a public safety exemption and makes sense that
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you would question are there other bombs out there. we want to find those and defuse those. it's a shame, it's hard to have that rational conversation because these issues have gotten so politicized. mostly by the overreach of the security state. >> you know, let's not forget oklahoma city bombing. where we did have home-grown terrorists who were tried quite expeditiously in federal court. because we also conflate that all terrorism is islamic terrorism, people forget that we could, in some of those cases like oklahoma city, talk about american-born and raised here in this country, radicalized in this country with their groups, militant groups existing in this country. and the federal government has done quite a good job of treating them as criminals and they are also terrorists, so we can do this and we've done it before and should do it now. >> in terms of the success rate of actually prosecuting the case, the ones that go to gitmo tend to languish. the ones tried if federal court are the ones that are successfully prosecuted. mike. >> and remember there were ricin
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letters sent out last week as well. so you know, why one can be treated in a normal criminal process and one couldn't, is doesn't really have a very good explanation. >> mike german of the aclu, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, some republican lawmakers are using the example of the tsarnaev brothers to sound the alarm on immigration reform. but will warning lead to stalling? we'll discuss the boston factor in the state of play on capitol hill, just ahead. when our little girl was born, we got a subaru. it's where she said her first word. (little girl) no! saw her first day of school. (little girl) bye bye! made a best friend forever. the back seat of my subaru is where she grew up. what? (announcer) designed for your most precious cargo. (girl) what? (announcer) the all-new subaru forester. love. it's what makes a subaru,
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grassley. bur don't tell senator chuck grassley that. >> i say that plrly those who are pointing to the terrible tragedy in boston as a, i would say excuse for not doing the bill or delaying it. many months or years. >> i never said that. >> i never said, i didn't say you did, sir. >> i didn't say -- >> i don't mean you, mr. grassley. >> mr. chairman, i don't appreciate -- >> how will the boston bombings affect immigration reform? we'll discuss that, coming up next.
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before the tragedy last week in boston, congress seemed to be getting its groove back. taking actual votes on actual bills with republicans and democrats coming together to craft actual bipartisan legislation. never mind actual passage. but boston may have stopped that rolling tide, specifically on subject of immigration reform. since the country found out that
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the two suspect in the bombing were legal immigrants, one of whom became a u.s. citizen in the past year, some opponents have tried to pull the stops on, put the stops on legislative action, last week, iowa senator chuck grassley immediately linked the boston events to the immigration debate. >> given the events of this week it's important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system. while we don't yet know the immigration status of people who have terrorized the communities in massachusetts, when we find out, it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our system. >> but gang of eight members are standing their ground. and today, the chairman of the senate judicialry committee, pat leahy, urged his colleagues not to let the tragedy of boston impact their votes. >> last week opponents of the immigration reform began to exploit the boston marathon bombing. i'm a new englander, i spent a lot of time in boston growing up and so do today. friends and relatives there.
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i urge restraint in that regard. refugees and asylum speakers have enriched the fabric of our country from its founding. let no one be so cruel as to let the try to use the heinous acts of last week to derail the dreams and futures of hard-working people. >> from this vantage point from today and given the fact that this is a fluid situation, do you think boston will have an effect on the passage or the timeline for immigration reform? >> no. and grassley kind of walking back -- i didn't say that. is an indication of that. >> he actually did, but never minding that. but the consensus that seems to be emerging is that this doesn't have anything to do with immigration per se. that these are people who are radicalized here in america. if they were. so if anything, it suggests that we ought to do immigration
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reform, because we want to have a more rational system and who is here and why and how they got here. as opposed to this anarchy of 11 to 12 million people who are just here. >> let's also be clear, that this is the senate talking, there's been some modeicum of sanity coming from the house. but there's reports in the aftermath of boston, people saying we need to shut our borders and stop people from coming in. if we're talking from the tiny caucus of crazy that often dictates how some in the lower chamber will vote there will be some renewed pressure to shut it down, not let them in. >> if you want to find a reason not to be doing immigration reform there are some on the right, they could try to conflate it they didn't sneak over the border, they came on a plane, during the bush administration, during asylum. this has nothing do do with
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immigration reform. they were not undocumented, they had papers. >> and one of them was a citizen. >> and "the new york times" editorial board writes the boston events have nothing to do with immigration reform, even if we stop accepting refugees and asylum seekers. these children were very young when they applied for asylum. we will still face risks and will have not have fixed immigration. there's a better way to be safer. pass immigration bill, get 11 million people on the books, find out who they are. >> this is nothing to do with the trickiest bit of immigration reform, what to do with the 11 million people here illegally. these two were here totally legally. you know, this is if you're going to start raising questions, you can raise a lot of questions about intelligence, how you find these people before they do this kind of thing. how you spot people who are radicalized. how you spot people who may feel alienated from society and act
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on it. it's impossible to link it to immigration reform. the fundamental arguments for immigration reform still stand. november 2012 showed it and you'd be hard-pushed to see the party leadership not saying look, we you know, we've still got to do this. if we want longevity as a majority party, this is not an option, we're not going to have this derailed by a spurious argument about whether these people have anything to do. >> spurious arguments found much quarter last week when there was a debate over gun safety reform. >> the guns used by the tsarnaev brother were not purchased legally. do you think that does anything to rekindle the gun reform debate in congress? >> it's the gun issue is bigger than one incident if the mass slaughter of more than 20 first graders couldn't change it, nothing is going to change it. >> if the death of innocent
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people would move congress to act, what happened in texas this past week would have mattered. 14 people died in the explosion at the plant there. more than 200 wounded. you didn't have any politicians coming out saying we're going to dedicate as many federal resources as are necessary to get to the bottom of what happened. we're going to find out why these people died. >> it should have never happened. >> it has to be sort of referendum at the polls, as it was demographicy and that's what's pushing the gop on immigration. when we come back mohammed atta, ransi bin alshib, and zacharias moussaoui. they have ties to terrorist networks remain highly unclear. we will discuss check nia, russia, when nbc's richard engel and the new republic's julia yaffi join us next. everybody has different investment objectives,
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though the tsarnaev brothers spent most of their adult life in the u.s., their ties to war-torn check nia and brother tamerlan's six-month trip to russia last year reminds us that there's no standard profile for those who wish to do harm. house homeland security chair, mike mccall insisted that investigators should pay attention to the family's chechen origins. >> why is chechen important? i think the american people need to understand this. the chechen rebels are some of the fiercest jihadist warriors out there. they're angry with russia, but they've also made an alliance with al qaeda. you have to understand they've worked with al qaeda in pakistan, afghanistan, one of my constituent's sons was killed in iraq by nine chechen rebels, so they're in the fight. >> the younger brother, dzhokhar's russian social media
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page listed several chechen causes. and when he was assigned by his high school english teacher to write an essay about something that he felt passionate about, he chose the troubled land of his ancestors, chechnya. as evidence of the continued and deep fracture between the two countries, in 2011, the fbi questioned tamerlan tsarnaev after russia expressed concerns about his radicalization, but yesterday the dagestan affiliate denied having any connection to the brothers. in a statement the group announced it was not fighting against the united states of america. we are at war with russia, which is not only responsible for the occupation of the caucasus but also for the heinous crime against muslims. president obama has not addressed chechnya in any measurable way. the administration remains
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squarely focused on the threat posed by al qaeda and al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. joining us is white house correspondent for "the new republic" julia faffi. we know you've written about this for some time. and a lot of folks do not understand the dynamics between the u.s. and russia at present. but really more specifically, russia and chechnya. as we talk about what has happened in and around the chechnyian separatist movement it bears mentioning and "u.s.a. today" mentions this that the russian army played a role in radicalizing chechen separatist movements, tell us a little of the history between these two states. >> in the history how recent this is, in the late 18th century, the russian empire invaded the region and this radicalized it. later, joseph stalin drew the borders in such a way that made an ethnic hodge-podge of the region. he suppressed a chechen rebellion by deporting the
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entire chechen population to central asia, a deeply radicalizing experience, as much as a third or a half of the chechen population died there. in the '90s and early 2000s, russia fought a brutal war there against chechen separatist who is became increasingly affiliated with the islamic, islamic terrorist insurgencies around the world. >> it radicalized both sides, russia and the chechens, for the churchens, the chechens because increasingly radicalized and islamized. >> i want to bring the folks in new york into this. what's interesting to me, the chechen terrorist attacks in russia have been staggering. what has happened to the chechen population in the course of the last 100 years, they've been brutalized, displaced, what haas happened in these terrorist attacks in russia. the 2000 moscow siege, killed
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over 120 people. the bess lan school massacre. over 300 killed, mostly children. the moscow metro bombing, 39 people killed. foreign policy has an interesting anal a sysianalysis. chernen writes the numerous terror strikes have not been included in the short list of major terrorist attacks, america's 9/11, london's 7-7, and spain. instead, russia was placed in a different category where like in israel, terrorism was deemed a response to the government's repression, rather than an attack against humanity as such. that's obviously one person's take. in the broader conversation about global terror, those attacks are not often included in the same list. >> although if you are living in moscow or living in russia, you would certainly say they were terrorism. the russians did at the time say they were attacks of terrorism.
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a conversation we're having now is a reminder of why we do need to know what's happening around the world. why it matters what's happening in chechnya, the capital was flattened during the war there. that chows of chechens have been killed and at some point we have to wake up to the fact that the world is so interconnected, the borders are fairly porous, people live in this country and it has an impact. we know that the chechens have gone from being a largely nationalist movement fighting against russian imperialism and oppression to being more international. the single largest group of nonafghan fighters picked up in afghanistan, tend to be chechens and the american military is aware of their growing spread around the world. sometimes tempting to say it happens very far away, it doesn't impact us, this is is a reminder that it does. >> julia, what is staggering to some is the interlinkage between previous acts of terror and work within and around chechen separatists, terrorists
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operations, bin laden backed the chechen rebels in the 1990s. chechens fought alongside al qaeda in afghanistan in late 2001. mohammed atta, expressed interest in joining the chechen insurgency. this is almost a part of the world where many later radicalized terrorists have made stops along the way, if you will. >> that's right, but i think we have to wait for the facts to come out to what extent tamerlan tsarnaev was involved. to what extent he was trained in chechnya or dagestan. as opposed to just drawing inspiration from it and doing a copy cat attack in his home town of boston. a lot of the fighters are trained, but this kid seemed to be out of place in boston. he seemed to be alienated. he said he had no american friends, he didn't understand them. and he seemed to find, just like his younger brother seems to have found a kind of grounding in this, in his family's history. >> and ron, certainly that is an important point to bring up. we have no idea what sort of caused them to do this.
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and whether or not they were even affiliated with anybody at all. this could have just been two brothers carrying out a terrorist attack. learning how to build these devices on the internet. and that complicates the war on terror, if it's not actually a terrorist cell or a network of any sort. >> the best we can do is pull back the lens a little bit like you did. and what does this tell us about the bigger picture? one thing it tells us in addition to what you were saying is how easy it is for a superpower to radicalize people. and how a superpower, whether it's russia or the united states has to be very careful how it comports itself or it's going to make many more enemies in the world. >> it is a global world, that means our concerns must be global. julia ioffe, thank you and thanks to our panel here in new york, ryan, joy, katty and ron, i'll see you tomorrow when i'm joined by my panel. until follow us on "now" on twitter. "andrea mitchell reports" is next.
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today all eyes are on the midwest once again, we still have major flooding on the illinois river and also the mississippi river. and another spring storm is headed for the region. thankfully the rain will be a little lighter with this one than the last one. shouldn't cause too many additional problems, some of the rain and snow will be moving through the central plains today and tomorrow. including some of the big airports like kansas city and chicago. i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle. i'm really glad that girl stayed at home.
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